The Federal government has been accused of freezing the bank accounts of Nigerians who promoted the #EndSARS protests.
Nigerians took to the streets and on social media on October 8 to demand an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the Nigeria police and an end to police brutality in the country.
The protest which went viral and trends worldwide took a different turn when it was hijacked by hoodlums. On Tuesday, October 20, soldiers of the Nigerian military stormed the Lekki tollgate plazain, Lagos state and allegedly opened fire on the peaceful protesters.
Two weeks after the protests, there are allegations that the Federal government has begun a clampdown on those who promoted the protest via any means.
Punch reported that, some #EndSARS promoters alleged that their banks informed them that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directed that their accounts be frozen. According to the report, the apex bank instructed banks to place a “Post No Debit” restriction on the accounts.
Nigerian pharmacist, Bassey Israel, who was in charge of the #EndSARS medical team in Port Harcourt, said his bank account with Access Bank marked 003397XXXX has been frozen since October 15.
“I am in charge of End SARS medical team in Port Harcourt and we had people donating for medical supplies, food, water, ambulance services and these donations were made directly into my account and of course these donations had End SARS descriptions so I think that was how they were able to flag my account.
I noticed that on October 15, I was trying to make a debit transaction on my account and noticed that there was a restriction.
So, I called the bank and I was told that there was indeed a restriction but I should go to any branch near me and when I did so, the branch manager sent a mail to the branch where I opened the account. The response to the mail was that there was a directive from the CBN to restrict the account.
The lady was surprised and even asked me if I had any issue with the CBN and I responded that if I had any issue with the CBN, I wouldn’t be in the bank in the first place, I would be on the run. I asked what could be done and she gave me no answer. She had to show me the mail on her computer which I read. It was directly from the CBN and it read, ‘Place this account on PND” he was quoted as saying
When asked if others had similar problems, Israel said,
“I know many persons that have this same challenge.”
Another protester who spoke on condition of anonymity, also said she had not been able to access her bank account and had been informed that it was frozen.
The CBN is yet to confirm or deny this allegation.
On Sunday, November 1st, Modupe Odele, an #EndSARS advocate, narrated how she was stopped from travelling out of the country by officers of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS). The lawyer said she was detained and her passport was seized.
The Ministry of Interior, however, denied the allegation that it is compiling the names of #EndSARS protesters on a no-fly list.